Swamp and Overflowed Land Law and Legal Definition

Swamp and overflowed land refers to a land that is unfit for cultivation due to its boggy and marshy character. A swamp and overflowed land requires drainage or reclamation to render it available for beneficial use. These lands are not conveyed without survey, selection, or patent. They are surveyed as public lands. [43 USCS § 981].

Swamp lands include marshes and irregular ponds which do not have effective natural drainage. Overflowed lands include essentially the lower levels within a stream flood plain as distinguished from the higher levels. The act of Congress in 1850 enabled the states to construct the necessary levees and drains to reclaim swamp and overflowed lands. The Secretary of the Interior is required to make accurate lists and plats of all such lands. The Secretary of the Interior is also required to cause patents to be issued to states having swamp and overflowed lands. [State v. New, 280 Ill. 393 (Ill. 1917)]